WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School junior Kaela Azzaretto has been making a name for herself not only this year, but ever since her freshman year on the varsity gymnastics team.
Just this season, this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week has had some stand-out finishes. Against Scotch Plains-Fanwood, she placed first in the all around with a 36.4, the bars with an 8.825 and the balance beam with a 9.4. Later on in the season against rivals Cranford, Azzaretto placed first on the floor with a 9.25.
These scores put her in a good place going into the county tournament that took place on Friday, Oct. 20, where she placed first on floor with a 9.425 and second on both beam (8.9) and in the all around (36.4), helping Westfield place second as a team in the tournament.
Azzaretto first began competing with the Surgent’s Elite club team since she was 7. Since then, she has loved gymnastics and all that comes along with it.
“I think all of my gymnastics coaches have influenced me,” Azzaretto said. “However, my teammates have always influenced me the most — they support me and push me. I aspire to be like all of them.”
Because Azzaretto has been competing for so long, gymnastics has had a large impact on her life, she explained.
“Gymnastics has changed my whole life in a positive way,” Azzaretto said. “I practice four hours a day almost every day of the week, and every minute is worth it. It’s given me confidence and discipline which translates to everything I do. I love doing what I do because I wouldn't be where I am today without gymnastics.”
Azzaretto and her coaches are expecting big things from her in the future. With sectionals right around the corner on Nov. 4 at Bishop-Ahr, head coach Amanda Diaz has high hopes for the gymnast as the season continues and looking into next year.
“She is always motivated and works hard to add new skills each season into her routines. Kaela is a leader on and off the floor and we look forward to see what she will bring to the team next season,” Diaz said. “For now, we are focused on keeping her routines clean for sectionals and getting those qualifying scores for states."
Assistant coach Laurie McCormack explained how Azzaretto plays a large part on the team.
“She is consistent, confident and poised in every competition,” McCormack said. “We expect we will see these same qualities continue into her senior year, which not only makes her a valuable member of the team,but also a strong leader and role model.”
Azzaretto and her teammates are excited to keep the momentum going for the rest of the season. Looking forward, she plans to continue her gymnastics career after graduation.
“I do plan to compete in gymnastics throughout college,” she said. “I love it too much to give it up. Spending every day in the gym with your team and working out is hard to let go.”
The Westfield Gymnastics team will head to Sectionals on Nov. 4 in the hopes of qualifying for states as a team or individually.
Nicole Dispenza is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.